Dispute resolution covers areas of disagreement not covered by mediation. Use of dispute resolution services is voluntary and must be agreed by all parties. Before involvement with the formal dispute resolution service you have the option to use the impartial Special Educational Needs and Disability Information, Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS) that all local authorities must provide. SENDIASS staff are trained in dispute resolution and SEND law and guidance.

The areas covered by dispute resolution services are disagreements between:

  • parents or young people and local authorities, the governing bodies of maintained schools and maintained nursery schools, early years providers, further education institutions or the proprietors of academies (including free schools), about how these authorities, bodies or proprietors are carrying out their education, health and care duties for children and young people with special educational needs (SEN), whether they have Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans or not. These include duties on the local authority to keep their education and care provision under review, the duties to assess needs and draw up EHC plans and the duty on governing bodies and proprietors to use their best endeavours to meet children and young people’s SEN
  • parents or young people and early years providers, schools or post-16 institutions about the special educational provision made for a child or young person, whether they have EHC plans or not
  • parents or young people and Clinical Commissioning Groups or CCGs (CCGS are the parts of the health service that pay services or commission them to provide health services like Speech and Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy etc.) health bodies or local authorities about health or social care provision during EHC needs assessments, while EHC plans are being drawn up, reviewed or when children or young people are being reassessed
  • disagreement resolution services can also be used to resolve disagreements over special educational provision throughout assessments, the drawing up of EHC plans, while waiting for Tribunal appeals and at review or during re-assessments.